City of Los Angeles Loses Lawsuit Over Illegal 4% Benefit Freeze!

Miguel Santana

We have maintained ONE position from the start, the impairment of our vested right is illegal, and that is what the court found today!

City of Los Angeles as Defendant lost the 4% lawsuit, and the court left no room for error it ruled on a very long standing precedent, that a vested right can not be taken away from individuals who so earn this right.
We have earned the vested benefit, the 4% retirement was a way for the city to generate income and continue to mismanage at our expense.
SEIU 721, AFSCME and other unions whose membership voluntarily entered into this agreement are not covered by today’s ruling, only EAA MOU 31 and the LACAA as well as those units which voted NO on the 4% issue are covered.
Today the Court found that the city clearly overstepped its authority, and that LACAA, LA City, and other NO voters were correct!

Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office did not return an email seeking comment.


Read the highlights and the Entire ruling below.

The petition for a writ of mandate is Granted.

  •  The fixed and permanent $1,190 medical plan premium subsidy in the freeze ordinance constitutes an impairment of a vested right to a substantial or reasonable benefit. Since no new comparable advantages offset that impairment, a peremptory writ of mandate shall issue directing the City to compute and provide the health insurance premium subsidy to Petitioner’s and Intervenor’s members without regard to Ordinance Number 181746 (the freeze ordinance).
  • Based on the foregoing, the Court finds that the freeze ordinance constitutes an impairment of the vested right to a medical premium subsidy covering all or part of the cost of medical coverage.
  • The freeze ordinance does not provide any comparable new advantages.

The Court finds that the enactment of the freeze ordinance was designed to protect the basic interests of society by helping the City address its fiscal problems and avoid further cuts in City services and staff. Arguably, there was an emergency justification for the enactment given the state of the City’s finances. However, the freeze ordinance is not materially related to the theory and successful operation of a medical premium subsidy/pension system.

Furthermore, there is no indication that the freeze ordinance is merely a temporary measure. In fact, it is a permanent and progressively more onerous impairment of a vested right to a medical premium subsidy. As such, the freeze ordinance does not bear a material relation to the theory of a pension health premium subsidy system and its successful operation



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